How to Encourage Initiatives & New Ideas

by Lisa McQuerrey; Updated September 26, 2017
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Continually invigorating your business with new and innovative ideas can keep staffers motivated and help your business stay competitive. Work from the top down, with managers and upper-level executives letting staffers know that there are no bad ideas. Create a workplace environment where all suggestions, contributions and initiatives are welcome from employees at all levels of the company.

Invite Staff Input

Develop a framework in which employees are encouraged to share ideas, contribute to decision-making and think independently. Host brainstorming sessions in which staffers from all departments in your business are encouraged to contribute suggestions and share theories and thoughts on new approaches. Establish employee-headed committees to explore and vet the best new ideas for further exploration.

Offer Incentives

Reward employees for their efforts by offering incentives for those who come up with new ideas or innovative measures that help the company. For example, a cash bonus for the best cost-reduction idea contributed by a staff member or bonus vacation time for the employee who comes up with a way to solve a pressing problem or issue. This invites competition and makes employees feel valued.

Provide Positive Feedback

Publicly acknowledge and give credit to employees who contribute new and innovative ideas. Staffers who are recognized for their efforts are more likely to contribute in the future and feel they are part of the workplace team. On the other hand, managers that take credit for staff work can incite resentment among the ranks and create an environment in which employees see little or no value in contributing more than they have to.

Let Employees Run

Allow employees to take ownership of their ideas and suggestions. For example, if a customer service representative recommends a new idea for processing customer complaints and wants to head up a task force to address it, give that employee ownership of the project. This allows staffers to develop professionally, creates a sense of loyalty among workers and encourages ongoing contributions.

Encourage Independent Thinking

Give employees some degree of autonomy over how projects are approached and work product produced. Micro-managing employees may stifle initiative or inhibit new idea creation. Instead, encourage staffers to communicate with managers and to voice their questions and concerns with the knowledge that all input is appreciated and taken seriously.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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